Canadian Idol Melissa O'Neil at the Season 3 Finale.
New show format for Idol season's May 29 launch
Updated Thu. May. 11 2006 2:38 PM ET
Eye on Idol
Changes in Canadian Idol's format and an increase in talented hopefuls has led to tougher competition for fewer spots in the show's live-to-air episodes.
By the time Idol hits the airwaves on May 29 (8 p.m. ET on CTV), more than 200 hopefuls who began this week's elimination rounds will have been knocked down to 22, a change from the 32 featured on the show's vote-in rounds over the past three seasons.
In previous years the audition tour culminated with a much-smaller Top 100, but the increase of talented singers walking onto the Idol set led to a blizzard of gold tickets being given out.
The show's voting stage begins in June. From then to the final selection, fans across the country will have the ultimate say in who goes and who stays to pursue their dream of being a professional singer.
"Let the fan-demonium begin!" said Susanne Boyce, CTV president of programming. "We're thrilled to bring Canadians another summer of music and celebration of this country's undiscovered gems."
And Canadians are clearly just as excited. Over the show's third season, more than 38 million votes were cast by viewers. That's more than one per Canadian and an increase of 19 per cent from the year before.
With an audience of more than 2 million viewers, the show was the most-watched in the country by the end of last summer, seen by over 17 million people, making it the most successful English-language Canadian series ever produced.
Future star searches are already being planned, as CTV has secured Canadian rights to the Idol format for an addition four seasons.
Here's how this summer's episodes will unfold (be sure to check your local listings to confirm dates and times):
Monday, May 29 / Monday, June 5 / Monday, June 12 (8 to 9 p.m. ET): Highlights from Canadian Idol's 2006 audition tour.
Monday, June 19 / Tuesday, June 20 (8-9 p.m. ET): Watch the drama unfold as Canadian Idol's first-ever "Top 200" Gold Ticket group is whittled down to only 22 semi-finalists by Canadian Idol's celebrity judges.
Week of June 26: It's Canadian Idol's 100th episode and to celebrate the Top 22 semi-finalists will perform live, after which voters will take to the telephones to vote for their favourites. A different group of 11 will perform each night during two 90-minute live broadcasts. On the third night, the voting outcome is revealed in a live 30-minute results episode, and four members of the Top 22 will be sent home.
Week of July 3: divided into two groups of nine, the remaining 18 finalists will perform live over two nights, after which voters will cast their votes. On the third night, the voting outcome is revealed in a live, 30-minute results episode. Four members of the Top 18 will be sent home.
Week of July 10: divided into two groups of seven, the remaining 14 finalists will perform live over two nights. On the third night, Canada meets the Canadian Idol Top 10 when the final four members of the Top 22 are eliminated in a 30-minute show.
Week of July 17: Canadian Idol returns to Toronto's John Bassett Theatre for the first Top 10 show, a special 90-minute, live episode. On the next night, one member of the Top 10 goes home in the first live Top 10 results show. Idol will continue for the next eight weeks with live performance shows on one night and live results shows on the next